Celtic Ale | Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall

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Celtic AleCeltic Ale
769 Ratings
Celtic AleCeltic Ale

Brewed by:
Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall
Massachusetts, United States

Style: Irish Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.40%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
Harpoon Celtic Ale features a deep amber color. The flavor is malty and complex. Celtic Ale has a moderate hop finish that, along with the generous amounts of malt, makes for a medium bodied, smooth, rich beer. Try serving Celtic Ale with a hearty stew… the beer’s robust character will complement the bold flavors.

25 IBU

Added by barleywinebrewer on 01-16-2009

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 769 |  Reviews: 365
Photo of shamrock7
4.15/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I recently was introduced to Harpoons Hibernator by mistake and I have to say I really enjoyed it. It was presented to me as an IPA, but it was really a red ale. I was expecting an IPA and I found my first sip not only to be a surprise, but a pleasant surprise. It was really smooth and tasty. It was a nice pour with a rich foamy head. The aroma was a nice mix of fruit and caramel, but not overpowering. It went down very easily - light, tasty and very drinkable. Even though I was looking for an IPA I ended up sticking with this one for the whole time I was there. There was no aftertaste and it was easy on the pallet. I’ll be looking for this one next time.

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Photo of jcdiflorio
2.79/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

poured into a nonic glass from a 12oz brown long neck bottle with a crimped on cap.

Clear,amber red color,a slight bit of carbination,1" off-white head dissapated quickly to a coating of foam.

Moderate aromas,sweet carmell/toffee,very fruity,nutty with a bit of roastyness. A good,inviting aroma.

Some carmell tastes,lots of sourness, taste is nothing like the aroma would indicate. A good balance with a dry,tart,grassy finish.

A medium mouthfeel that's grainy and a bit on the rough side.
Not a bad taste just not enough to make me want another.

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Photo of tempest
3.68/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap a Kelly Cole's

This is a definite St. Patty's Day beer. A good go at the irish red style, reminds me of Smithwick's but less creamy than I'm used too. That'd probably be fixed by a nitro pour, but anyways. Seems a little light in body for a craft beer, but I think that goes with the style. There's a mellow ester flavor from the yeast plus a touch of caramel and a little tang. Almost seems closer to a lager for some reason. Anyways if you want an irish red session beer, get a 6er or order a pint.

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Photo of atsprings
3.75/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a crisp clear red with a quickly diminishing head. Aroma is somewhat malty with a bit of fruitiness but not too much. Taste holds up to the style very well. Good mouthfeel with a decent amount of carbonation. Decently drinkable beer for the style.

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Photo of scarletfire79
4/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice red amber with a slight off white head. the smell is unoffending and slightly sweet. the first sip of this beer didn't really get my attention right away. but after a couple of glasses from the growler, it really started to grow on me. the taste is really well balanced with a real smooth finish. almost honey like. i think this is a real solid beer. very smooth, very middle of the road and very appealing to the masses. i dig it.

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Photo of mnj21655
3.43/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a nice clear amber color with two fingers of white head and decent lacing. Looks very appealing. Smells like tea with lemony notes, a bit of fruitiness and a decent sweet, malty backbone. Taste is also a bit like tea but more muted than the nose. A sweet, lightly toasted malt backbone and the appearance of bittering hops in the finish serve to round out this beer very well. Nice smooth mouthfeel with decent body and carbonation. As for drinkability I'm somewhat conflicted. On one hand this is a tasty brew that isn't too heavy. On the other I just can't see myself having more than two, maybe three, in a sitting and for me that says something. Overall this is a solid brew, not quite a session beer but certainly something I'd have if I had a few other beers to drink.

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Photo of MrHurmateeowish
3.96/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle from Shaw's. Amber-red translucent body with a little less than an inch of light tan head. Smells of malt and floral hops. Biscuit and caramel malt with some floral hop to support it. Creamy full mouthfeel. Pretty good ale. Nice malty ale.

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Photo of geexploitation
2.24/5  rDev -36.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Pours a reddish brown, with a dark center and bright caramel edges. Only a collar of head remains after a few minutes. Aroma is definitely on the butterscotchy diacetyl side of things, although some nutty malts and fruity hops poke through in spite the diacetyl intensity. The palate, the palate. OK, I'm usually OK with a bit of diacetyl in my English style ales, but this is ridiculous. Diacetyl in the front, mid, and finish, along with some acidity first off and some grapefruity notes at the mid-palate -- but those last two things are overwhelmed by the big D. The finish dries out quickly. Mouthfeel is pretty full-bodied, with good, medium carbonation that fills things out. Overall, this beer has only the minor trappings of a successful one (looks, mouthfeel). It's kind of like a hot girl who looks great and feels great in all the right places, but can't carry on a conversation and has poison for a soul. This is an abject failure of a beer IMO; I can only see someone enjoying this is they either a) have a strange diacetyl fixation or b) are blissfully unaware that the stuff exists.

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Photo of gmfessen
3.44/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Beer pours with a nice thick head that eventually settles to a thin rim. Beer has some lacing which follows the beer down the glass. There is a metallic smell present, maybe a skunky batch? Otherwise, the smell is of amber and roasted malts. The taste is better than the smell, no metallic taste is present. Taste is of amber malt and a nice honey like aftertaste is present. The beer is balanced well, and is rather light in body, almost watery, with not a whole lot of carbonation. Overall this beer isn't bad, but it doesn't stand out either.

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3.33/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

irish reds aren't the most interesting style and this one lives right up to that name sake

a light amber color with very little head as it poured from the bottle to a standard pint glass

decent aroma - a little malty and sweet
even bodied with a hint of hops in the finish
a slight taste of biscuits or bread
it goes down pretty easy and you could drink two on a hot day

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Photo of cbl2
3.85/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

6/6/2005 $6.99 6 pack 5.40% No best by date.


Pours a clear orange/brown with fine carbonation leading to a half inch of white head. Moderate lacing upon settling.


Mild caramel malt with some herbal hop notes (cascade?). Nothing exceptional jumps out here, just clean and simple.


Sweet and malty at first followed by a hop kick midsip that is at times piney & floral. Malts creep back in for the finish with a fig/caramel quality.

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Photo of Enola
3.24/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer was looking pretty good up untill I tasted it. It is about the color of a glass of tea. There was little head and no lacing. The taste is just too harsh. There is a negative bitterness that cannot be overlooked. It kills the entire beer. The mouthfeel is average at best. I could not drink this beer again. There are much better red beers.

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Photo of Gritsak
3.41/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- dark ruby color with a nice offwhite head. laces a little near the top of the glass.

S- a buscuity, malty flavor that is a little bland.

T- not a whole lot going on. mostly a malty sweetness with a very light hop finish.

M- fairly thin but very smooth.

D- pretty easy to drink, but why bother.

overall- i expected a little more hop presence with the style, but malt pretty much dominated the flavor. Its pretty easy to drink but after one i switched to something with more flavor.

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Photo of aquatonex
3.5/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Another decent Harpoon offering...

Pours light red, pretty translucent, moderate to light carbonation. Not much head. Smell is rather light, with hints of florals. Taste is not powerful, mild malts, hints of hops, caramels as well. Easy going down. Good if you want to down a few quickly. Quick and rather enjoyable.

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Photo of LarryV
3.53/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Light malty aroma with the faintest bit of fruity hoppiness in the background. Pours an attractive red amber color with minor head.
Taste is all about malt with a caramel overtone, very subdued hop flavor. Not a bad drinking brew, but not exciting enough to want me running back for more. Probably a good macro cross over beer.

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Photo of sinstaineddemon
3.9/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

this Harpoon offering pours a dark amber color, with a cream colored head. carbonation is apparent as bubbles steadily rise. a distinct fruity aroma is thick and inviting. hard ot place, seems like maybe prune.wow, the bitterness of this brew is very refreshing. it finishes a bit dry, which is only a problem if you run out. easily drinkable, another good brew from Harpoon.

a great beer to review on St. Patricks Day!!
Happy St. Patricks to all

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Photo of MSchae1017
3.7/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer was tasted in pint glass from the bottle.

This beer pours an amber color with a frothy white head that fades quickly leaving a little lace and a little film. The smell is faint with sweet malts. The taste is malty caramel up front with some bitterness coming through at the end. The mouthfeel is a little thin with good carbonation. Overall moderately drinkable but not the best Irish Red Ale out there.

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Photo of taez555
3/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer poured an amber/red body with a small white/tan head.

Sweet, malty nose. HInts of fruit and that classic harpoon english earthy yeast strain.

Medium bodied with a biscuity, cracker, subtle caramel malt taste. There's an initial hop bitterness taste and punch that seems like it'll build but quickly fades only to reemerge in the finish. Sort of a swooping U shaped bitterness flow. Course malt more as it warms, again though barely moving beyond the basic biscuit toasted malt flavor.

I don't know. A decent beer, but sort of a MOR red ale aimed more for the Macro crowd that is willing maybe try a micro. Decent, but not my favorite from this great brewery.

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Photo of chOAKbarrell
3.68/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice robust, dark red with good head retention.

Smells of sweetish malt.

I dont know that there's too much in the way of taste. Just kinda glides right over your tongue directly down your throat. I rather like that, actually. It makes for an incredibly smooth mouthfeel.

This could possibly make a good intro beer for getting someone into craft beers. Pleasant, unoffensive, very smooth, and definitely easy to drink.

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Photo of Naes
1.93/5  rDev -45%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Appearance is dark amber in color with a small light tan head.
Aroma is of candy sweet malt.
The flavor starts out watery, then becomes candy sweet and moves into a semi bitter stage followed by an odd sweetness. The aftertaste just does not agree with me.
Mouth feel is a bit light and under carbonated.

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Photo of FenwaySquid
4.47/5  rDev +27.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 12 oz bottle, packaging date of Jan 31 06 on the bottle, poured into a pint glass. Pretty cool looking label as well.

Appearance: Deep reddish brown color, almost transparent, with rising bubbles visible when held up to light. The head formation was average, then faded quickly into a lace.

Aroma: All malt, very clean.

Taste: Toasted malts up front and throughout the middle. The finish starts off with caramel malt flavors, and ends with a slight bittering hoppy taste to it. Excellent.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, almost a little watery in the middle though. The carbonation tickes the tongue nicely.

Overall: This is one of my favorites, I'd stongly recommend it to anyone, especially those who likes Irish red ales.

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Photo of sweetwaterman
3.58/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

An nice take on the Irish Red style. This beer poured a nice rich red/straw color (though, to be honest, the place was kinda dark). Not much in the way of head, only some lacing around the edge of the plastic cup. The taste was a nice and smooth, with not much in the way of hops, but with a nice malt characteristic. All in all, this would be a welcome addition to my St. Patrick's Day party.

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Photo of acarroll413
3.71/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I poured this into a glass.

A nice full amber color, a big beautiful head that was an off white and lasted for quite a while. I know we aren't supposed to mention this but I love the artwork on the bottle itself. The smell was the worst aspect of the beer. I'm sure this sounds nuts to a lot of you, and probably extremely naive, but I don't like it when a beer smells like alcohol. It had a delicious flavor, but was not very carbonated. Other than that, I liked it very much. It was quite smooth going down and left a pleasant aftertaste. Overall I'd say this is a decent beer, not my favorite but I'd probably have another if the opportunity arises.

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Photo of MurphyMacManus
4.01/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

12-ounce brown glass longneck into Imperial pint glass.

Appearance: sexy red colour with half-inch off-white head that sticks for most of the pint. Very attractive visually.

Smell: Tea, toast, and floral hop notes dominate, as is appropriate.

Taste: My first impression of this beer was "Hey, this tastes like tea and toast! Try it!" And that hasn't really changed. I'm a big fan of tea and toast and, therefore, a big fan of this beer.

Mouthfeel: Very light. Tingly carbonation and it doesn't even begin to coat my vocal cords.

Drinkability: I could drink an entire 6-pack of this without realizing it; it's that tasty.

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Photo of ColForbin
3.68/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Harpoon Hibernian Ale pours a clear amber color with a thick light tan head. Aroma is malty, with some spicy notes, maybe a little grassy as well. Taste is bready, and malty with a slight tang and a slightly dry but not hoppy finish. Light mouthfeel, fairly highly carbonated. A good solid red ale, very drinkable. Not an awesome beer, but I have yet to find a red ale that is.

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Celtic Ale from Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall
Beer rating: 3.51 out of 5 with 769 ratings